"I kept studying and dreaming about my future."

This memoir takes readers into the life of an immigrant from Germany to England and on to the United States. The author is an ambitious woman and an excellent writer, so readers should enjoy accompanying her on her journey in this autobiography.

Valensi led an excessively sheltered life as a young child in the 40s. Her mother ruled with an iron hand. "She didn't want us to see how other families lived, because we didn't have money to improve our living conditions." The kids were kept busy day and night with chores and non-frivolous undertakings. And then there was the war perspective: "She tried to explain war to me, but I didn't understand." When Valensi finally got to college, her adventuresome spirit was released like a genie from a bottle, and with that ambition, of course, good things happened for her. She became a nurse and then a flight attendant. She made friends and connections, learned multiple languages, and clearly became invaluable to anyone she worked for.

In the movie, Moscow on the Hudson, Robin Williams's character defects from Russia and comes to the United States. He is stunned by the bounty set before him. Valensi describes her own experience similarly: "I looked at the glass in disbelief; such a big glass of juice for me alone?" Valensi effectively communicates the commonly held perspective of the time that the USA was the ultimate land of plenty.

Valensi's attitude as a young woman is laudable and brave. Her writing style is honest and unapologetic in sharing her own youthful zest for life: "I would constantly allow myself to be uprooted. A new beginning always proved an irresistible lure." When done reading this memoir, readers will want to know Valensi personally. To read of her life is to meet a refreshing, ambitious, smart, and strong woman.

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